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Suspend elections, reduce partisanship?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Partisanship is a buzzword in today's political climate. North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue on Tuesday suggested that pushing Congress' election cycle back two years may change that climate.

"I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won't hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover," Perdue told members of the Cary Rotary Club. "I really hope someone can agree with me on that. You want people who don't worry about the next election."

Perdue's spokeswoman Chris Mackey later downplayed the comments.

"Come on. Gov. Perdue was obviously using hyperbole to highlight what we can all agree is a serious problem: Washington politicians who focus on their own."

Most people can agree on that being the problem, but how -- even in a hyperbolic sense -- would lengthening someone's term improve that situation?

Many of these politicians have already been in office for numerous terms and, in some cases, several decades.

If they haven't learned to work together by now, what difference would two years make?

District 5 Rep. Steve King talked about the importance of term lengths, referencing 2010 elections, when he visited Spencer Aug. 30.

"Eighty-seven new freshmen were sent to Congress," King said. "That's exactly how it was envisioned by our founding fathers who wanted to see the House of Representatives up for re-election every two years, so it would be a quick-strike reaction. Then, they looked at the senate and six-year terms to be the cooling saucer to pour the hot coffee in. That is working, we just don't have the senators on the right side yet."

Ah ha! Perhaps King uncovered Perdue's real priority in his last sentence -- even those his comments preceded hers.

Republicans want control of the Senate and Democrats aren't willing to surrender that.

The real solution is to let the system work. However, the system does need a little bit of help.

That's where constituents come into play. Obviously, voting isn't enough anymore.

If constituents are truly fed up with the partisan bickering in Washington, they need to let their representatives know about it. Phone calls, emails, and approval ratings go a long way. Heck, with social media these days, even tagging a politician in a post on the Internet would probably get attention.

Longer term limits is not the answer.

A nation full of vocal, motivated constituents who take the time to be informed, contact their representatives and vote?

That sounds like a real, albeit optimistic, solution.

Yes, it may be overly optimistic, but it's better to aim for the best than to settle for what, according to approval ratings, is the worst.


Comments
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Off with their (talking) heads!

-- Posted by communicate on Thu, Sep 29, 2011, at 8:58 AM

Any politician who speaks of suspending any elections "temporarily" (anybody actually believe that? they break those types of "promises" all the time) or at all should be treated with extreme scrutiny, and hopefully thrown out at the earliest available opportunity.

-- Posted by jlees on Thu, Sep 29, 2011, at 1:56 PM

Okay, Rep. King. Are you not running for the chance to begin your second decade in Congress? Just sayin...I think your coffee has cooled, if it was every all the way heated in the first place. I think you're a few beans short of a full java.

-- Posted by AmyPeterson on Thu, Oct 6, 2011, at 4:14 PM


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Gabe Licht
Junior Moments